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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > MacBook Pro 17" faster than 15"?

MacBook Pro 17" faster than 15"?
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cigaro troutfood
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Oct 29, 2006, 05:59 AM
 
I am a long time PC user and have decided to switch to a Mac. I will definately buy me a MacBook Pro but have a hard time choosing between the 17 or 15 inch laptop. Besides the SuperDrive speed and the 7200rpm hard drive is there a real performance boost between the two? The specs are almost the same; if both were fitted with the 5400rpm hard drive would performance be identical? I will use the laptop mainly for audio recording but will bring it on campus from time to time, surf the net, and play video games. I read on a forum somewhere that when playing graphic intense games the 17" has a slight advantage over the 15" and it was investigated here: MacBook 13" versus MacBook Pro 15/17. This was the CD version. So, any real performance boost if I buy a 17" over the higher end 15"?
     
harrisjamieh
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Oct 29, 2006, 06:09 AM
 
There should be 0 performance difference between the 2 if you disregard the hard drive speed. The machines have the exact same graphics, processor, RAM, they are the same computer basically.
iMac Core Duo 1.83 Ghz | 1.25GB RAM | 160HD, MacBook Core Duo 1.83 Ghz | 13.3" | 60HD | 1.0GB RAM
     
tomzo22
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Oct 29, 2006, 07:30 AM
 
Question, Say you had a mbp and imac both same spec, ram, processor etc would they both run exactly the same? Is the only difference portability+screen size?
     
mduell
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Oct 29, 2006, 10:31 AM
 
The GPU in the 17" is clocked a bit higher (stock clockrate rather than underclocked). But for CPU/RAM related benchmarks (and disk if you put the same in both), they will be the same.
     
Simon
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Oct 29, 2006, 11:41 AM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
The GPU in the 17" is clocked a bit higher (stock clockrate rather than underclocked).
Oh, so you know that for sure? Please enlighten us with the exact GPU/mem clock numbers of the new MBPs and your source. Because for all I've seen we only have hard numbers for rev A. And the OP is obviously interested in rev B.
     
BadApple
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Oct 29, 2006, 02:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
The GPU in the 17" is clocked a bit higher (stock clockrate rather than underclocked). But for CPU/RAM related benchmarks (and disk if you put the same in both), they will be the same.
At least that was how Core Duo MBPs were. Did someone run the test to confirm if C2D MBPs are also set up like that? I think the bigger cooling surface of a 17" allows higher clock speed as it can dissipate heat more efficiently than a more compact 15" model.
     
cigaro troutfood  (op)
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Oct 29, 2006, 05:12 PM
 
Thanks to everyone for all the replies. So it seems that a slightly overclocked GPU, a larger screen, a +2x on SuperDrive, and the option of a 7200rpm hard drive are the only differences between the two... not really worth the extra 300 dollars. I read about the apparent heat issues on some of the MacBook Pro CD and was a little worried. Is this fixed and are they more likely to occur in 15" than 17"? Also how does battery life differ between the two? Sorry for so many questions but I just want to know if I will get a noticeable performance increase if I buy a 17" over the 15".
     
SierraDragon
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Oct 29, 2006, 09:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by cigaro troutfood View Post
Thanks to everyone for all the replies. So it seems that a slightly overclocked GPU, a larger screen, a +2x on SuperDrive, and the option of a 7200rpm hard drive are the only differences between the two... not really worth the extra 300 dollars. I read about the apparent heat issues on some of the MacBook Pro CD and was a little worried. Is this fixed and are they more likely to occur in 15" than 17"? Also how does battery life differ between the two? Sorry for so many questions but I just want to know if I will get a noticeable performance increase if I buy a 17" over the 15".
If you max out a 17" and a 15" you will get similar performance, except for possible under/over clocking and the hard drive difference which can be very significant for certain applications.

I will be curious to see what BareFeats says when they speed test the new MBPs 15 vs. 17.

Note that engineers design highest end laptops to about maximum heat because power = heat. So if one wants a cooler laptop one runs the fan or reducse the performance. But personally I want the power available and will tolerate heat.

Subtotal $3,174.00
2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
3GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM - 1x2GB, 1x1GB
160GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm
SuperDrive 6x (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
MacBook Pro 15-inch Widescreen Display

Subtotal $3,374.00
2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
3GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM - 1x2GB, 1x1GB
160GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm
SuperDrive 8x (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
MacBook Pro 17-inch Widescreen Display

Looks like $200 more, not $300 more for a configured box. If you go for the 7200 rpm hard drive it is only $100 difference.

For your $200 the main thing you get is a bigger display and lots more pixels. That may or may not be desirable because the size change gives a very different look and feel to using the box; each individual must decide. But if one does want it, it is well worth $200. You do get the 8x Superdrive, an extra USB port, ~10% longer battery life and an added 1.2 pounds of weight.

As regards the drive speed issue, MCE now makes a replacement hard drive that fits into the optical drive's location. The drive comes with an external case for the removed Superdrive so it is still usable, and the change actually makes the Macbook Pro a few ounces lighter.

MCE OptiBay Hard Drive for MacBook Pro and PowerBook G4

This means pro Mac laptops can now have two internal hard drives, which is very significant. One can order the 160 or 200 GB drive from Apple and add a fast 7200 rpm drive from MCE, allowing 260 or 300 GB total internal mass storage with 100GB of it on the fastest available drive. 50 GB or so of the fastest sectors of the larger drive can be partitioned as extremely important Photoshop scratch, creating (when equipped with 2 or preferably 3 GB RAM) both the first really good Photoshop laptop as well as the first laptop with the drive speed and mass storage to fully support DSLR photogs and Aperture.

Alternately one could just go for maximum speed in a 15" MBP by installing two 7200 rpm drives internally and moving the Apple drive to an external case.

NOTE: There may or may not be heat and/or warranty issues associated with replacing the optical drive with a hard drive, but I have used MCE for years and never had any problems.


-Allen Wicks
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Oct 29, 2006 at 09:40 PM. )
     
Rev-O
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Oct 29, 2006, 09:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
If you max out a 17" and a 15" you will get similar performance, except for possible under/over clocking and the hard drive difference which can be very significant for certain applications.

I will be curious to see what BareFeats says when they speed test the new MBPs 15 vs. 17.

Note that engineers design highest end laptops to about maximum heat because power = heat. So if one wants a cooler laptop one runs the fan or reducse the performance. But personally I want the power available and will tolerate heat.

Subtotal $3,174.00
2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
3GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM - 1x2GB, 1x1GB
160GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm
SuperDrive 6x (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
MacBook Pro 15-inch Widescreen Display

Subtotal $3,374.00
2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
3GB 667 DDR2 SDRAM - 1x2GB, 1x1GB
160GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm
SuperDrive 8x (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
MacBook Pro 17-inch Widescreen Display

Looks like $200 more, not $300 more for a configured box. If you go for the 7200 rpm hard drive it is only $100 difference.

For your $200 the main thing you get is a bigger display and lots more pixels. That may or may not be desirable because the size change gives a very different look and feel to using the box; each individual must decide. But if one does want it, it is well worth $200.

As regards the drive speed issue, MCE now makes a replacement hard drive that fits into the optical drive's location. The drive comes with an external case for the removed Superdrive so it is still usable, and the change actually makes the Macbook Pro a few ounces lighter.

MCE OptiBay Hard Drive for MacBook Pro and PowerBook G4

This means pro Mac laptops can now have two internal hard drives, which is very significant. One can order the 160 or 200 GB drive from Apple and add a fast 7200 rpm drive from MCE, allowing 260 or 300 GB total internal mass storage with 100GB of it on the fastest available drive. 50 GB or so of the fastest sectors of the larger drive can be partitioned as extremely important Photoshop scratch, creating (when equipped with 2 or preferably 3 GB RAM) both the first really good Photoshop laptop as well as the first laptop with the drive speed and mass storage to fully support DSLR photogs and Aperture.

Alternately one could just go for maximum speed in a 15" MBP by installing two 7200 rpm drives internally and moving the Apple drive to an external case.

NOTE: There may or may not be heat and/or warranty issues associated with replacing the optical drive with a hard drive, but I have used MCE for years and never had any problems.


-Allen Wicks
The 17" gets an extra USB port as well. Not a big deal, but it means I'll be able to keep my USB christmas tree going during the holiday seasons and not lose a USB port
Very interesting about tossing another hd in a MBP. Not for me, but nice to have the option.
Way I figure it, the 17" model is for desktop/stationary use, n: for portability. Decide which environment your MBP will mostly be used in and decide if the extra bones are worth it. Remember to toss in the price of a nice lappy bag!
Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!
     
mduell
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Oct 29, 2006, 10:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by Simon View Post
Oh, so you know that for sure? Please enlighten us with the exact GPU/mem clock numbers of the new MBPs and your source. Because for all I've seen we only have hard numbers for rev A. And the OP is obviously interested in rev B.
Yes.

Proof:


Source: http://lartren.com.nyud.net:8080/mac/

Have a nice day.
     
glhart
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Oct 29, 2006, 10:40 PM
 
I've been trying to decide between the 17 and the 15 by trying them both out (office machines, Powerbooks). In spite of the greater difficulty transporting the 17, I'm leaning towards it. The larger screen seems to make me genuinely more productive. I'll probably order the new 17" machine, but I am concerned that the screen opening angle be more than the older 17" MBP. I'm also interested to see whether the 200 gb hard disk is as fast as the 160 even though its RPM is less.
     
SierraDragon
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Oct 30, 2006, 12:17 AM
 
Originally Posted by glhart View Post
I've been trying to decide between the 17 and the 15... ...I'm also interested to see whether the 200 gb hard disk is as fast as the 160 even though its RPM is less.
I too am interested in seeing test results on C2D MBPs with various hard drives. Hopefully BareFeats will test. However now that MCE can facilitate 2 internal hard drives I will make the 15 vs. 17 decision based solely on the screen and ergonomics, not on the hard drive.

MCE OptiBay Hard Drive for MacBook Pro and PowerBook G4 shows the sustained transfer speeds of MCE's replacement hard drives, and the differences among drives is huge. Sustained transfer is I believe the important number for folks like me who frequently move large numbers of RAW image files and their edits, and it varies from 44 MB/s to 78 MB/s.

-Allen Wicks
     
brokenjago
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Oct 30, 2006, 12:48 AM
 
Originally Posted by mduell
Yes.

Proof:


Source: http://lartren.com.nyud.net:8080/mac/

Have a nice day.
That was hilarious.
Linkinus is king.
     
Simon
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Oct 30, 2006, 01:23 AM
 
Well thank you. Now of course it would be nice to know that for the 17" as well. And again of course with source please.
     
theyoda3
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Oct 30, 2006, 01:29 AM
 
There's no source for the 17" rating yet, but if it wasn't underclocked before, then it is safe to bet it won't be this time either.
     
Simon
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Oct 30, 2006, 02:01 AM
 
That is what I'm guessing as well, but in fairness to those new here, people should say that's it's an assumption rather than suggest these are hard facts.
     
   
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